Syria's presidency announced Wednesday that first lady Asma Assad has begun treatment for breast cancer.
The presidency posted on its Facebook page a photo of President Bashar Assad sitting next to his wife in what appeared to be a hospital room with an IV in her left arm.
The statement posted with the photo says the "malignant tumor" was discovered in its early stages and wished her a speedy recovery.
Such public announcements are uncommon in the Arab world, where cancer is considered a taboo.
The 42-year-old Asma Assad is originally from the central province of Homs. She was born and raised in Britain before moving back to Syria after meeting the president.
The two have been married for 18 years and have three children, Hafez, Zein and Karim.
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